In 2014, Kim Kardashian discovered racism after allegedly coming up against racial abuse, directed at her daughter during a flight. This led to her penning of an “open letter” detailing a new found understanding of racism as an issue she needed to engage with. Since the composition of this letter, it can be said without bias that Kardashians’ involvement in any groups or causes aiming to combat racial discrimination in America has been non-existent.
This letter, a focal point of an episode of their hit reality show, aimed to show Kim Kardashian and her mother, in a new more philosophical light. In fact, during the episode, there seemed to be a need to re-iterate the fact that Kardashian alone composed the contents of the letter. We were ever fortunate to be offered a clip of her reading from the letter as it was composed. You see, based on her history and the platforms through which she has made a name for herself, no one expects or expected Kardashian to lead discussions regarding racism in America.
Essentially, writing that letter about her first experience with racism, (shocking given the familial involvement in the O.J. Simpson trial) proved beneficial more as a television story line than a true desire to educate her multitude of fans about the insidiousness of racism in America.
Interestingly, and with a savvy that is testament to her role as a media darling, Kardashian evaded any questions regarding her ex-stepfathers support of Donald Trump, by positioning herself as someone with limited understanding of the issues. By playing part of naïve woman, needing to be educated others around her, Kardashian re-iterated the innocent white woman persona that plenty of white females in Hollywood adopt when they are mindful of not upsetting their core white fan base as well as any they have garnered in minority demographics. With a smile and an “empty-headed” shrug, Kardashian maintained a stable fan base that allowed her sell-out a substandard debut make-up line in record time.
As a business woman aiming for a sustainable make-up brand on par with that of her younger sister, the lacklustre reviews, shadowing her contour set pushed her to go on a publicity trail, engaging with YouTube gurus and having them incorporate her product in videos, where she acted as the model. This was another “get to know Kim Kardashian from a controlled position where these influencers can do nothing but praise the product because she is right there,” tactic that has been repeated by the sisters when launching product. On this circuit, she came across make-up darling Jeffree Star whose rise to fame still baffles me. With millions of followers and celebrity endorsements, he is the media darling, a fellow media darling like herself needs in her corner. At the end of the day, it is all about the money.
Kardashian has a core fan base of white women and LGBTQ men and knows that to keep her bread buttered she must keep these demographics, able to shrug away racism as “someone else’s battle” happy. These individuals have blindly followed Jeffree Star’s rise to fame despite repeated evidence of his racism and misogyny. There is video evidence of his use of the “n” word and the “c” world as well as tweets showing a lack of remorse for these incidents that Kardashians vast marketing team can easily dig up. However, for Kardashian, black women and LGBTQ individuals are not worth the cost of a good American dollar. And ironically, there is nothing more American than that.
Sacrificing support and care for the black community for money, is what the nation was built on and she, like many capitalists are merely continuing an age-old American tradition. The irony of course is that her children, for all their mixed-heritage are very visibly black and are one day going to go into a world that might push back against them for the colour of their skin. This might likely never be the case but with the rise of public Nazi’s and white supremacists in America, racist is no longer a shameful term to some demographics.
Kardashian’s comments following the events in Charlottesville over the weekend are not only insulting but nauseating. Her fellow white woman, Heather Heyer laid down her life, challenging white supremacists so Kardashian’s claim of naivete falls flat. To tell black people whom and when to forgive because it suits your business deal is a callousness many black people are unsurprised by. However, it is important that we continue to denounce Kardashian evil, when we come against it because silence is not and has never been the black inheritance in the face of oppression.
Written by Niki Igbaroola
You can follow Niki on Twitter.